HIV Longevity Still Fighting…

27Jul/11Off

Suicidal Tendencies

Let me start this post by stating that I honestly believe that everyone has thought about, and/or considered suicide at some point in their lives. That said, I was told directly by a psychologist many moons ago, that I was wrong about that … I guess we must agree to disagree on this one, because I'm sticking to my guns. However, it’s probable that I am incorrect on this one (didn't I just say I was sticking to my guns??) Regardless, let’s talk about suicide for those of us who have or will think about it at some point in our lives.

Secondly, I’d like to say that I am of the opinion that suicide is a weak solution to solving our problems. And, it is incredibly selfish and potentially can destroy and devastate those around you (friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, and co-workers to name but a few). SO DON’T DO IT!!!

That was this entry's disclaimer of sorts.

Instead of babbling about this crud, I thought I would share my own story of suicide as told in my memoir, Survivor: One Man’s Battle with HIV, Hemophilia, and Hepatitis C. The following is pulled directly from the pages of my book:

Thoughts of suicide had drifted in and out of my head for the last two years, but my death wish hadn’t come to fruition and I was tired of fighting this losing battle.
My clash with life was coming to a head and I started planning my demise. I would daydream while working about the different ways to kill myself. Deep down inside I was fearful of the fact that I would keep living in this condition and could not stand it any longer. I spent hours debating different forms of suicide and trying to pick one that would allow me to go out in style. I had visions of fiery car crashes off of mountainous cliffs and leaps from the top of some skyscraper over Time Square. When it came down to it, I knew that my kamikaze, seppuku, harakiri, or more to the point jisatsu (all of these Japanese words translate to one form of suicide or another) would actually be a meaningless act that would hurt many people around me.
I decided that the simplest way to smoke myself would be with a straight razor and some warm water. So, I prepared myself mentally and did a little planning. I remembered that Paul had mentioned that slicing your wrist was goofy unless done properly. He had explained that you must cut your veins open lengthwise instead of across like so many people do. This was the surefire way to kill yourself, because there is no simple way to patch this damage.
I was so close to ending my life that I could taste it. I was actually starting to feel better knowing that my worthless life would end soon. I would put myself to sleep thinking about everything finally being over. Now it was just a matter of picking a time and place.
My depression was deeply motivated by the drugs and alcohol. I knew that I was going to end my life soon and it was directly related to the depressants that I was bombarding my body with.
I was ashamed of the life I was leading and I hated it. After serious consideration, I decided to pray for help. This was my last ditch effort before finally doing the unthinkable. God had never answered me in the past so why would he answer me now. Praying was something I had avoided for years.
I spent an hour kneeled beside my bed pouring out my heart. I cried nonstop and cursed God for putting me through all of this. I challenged him and asked why he had not already ended my life. I prayed until my thought process changed and I was whimpering for help. My prayer had turned from hatred to fear. Before long I was begging God to rescue me. I pleaded my case for life and how I would turn my pathetic excuse of a life around if he would simply save me from this sad state of affairs. After this troublesome night I collapsed into bed and slept better than I had in years.
My prayer was answered the next day. David was a childhood friend of mine from church. The morning after my tearful prayer for help, he showed up on my doorstep. He explained that he had just gotten back from his mission in Brazil and decided to look me up. He had actually been looking for me for weeks and had finally tracked me down at this house.
I could not believe the irony of this event. My testimony was instantly created on that morning. David had merely walked into my life while it was on the brink of disaster. Was this just a random coincidence, or was God answering my humble prayer? My heart was filled with understanding and love as I realized the true answer in the blink of an eye. God had heard me in my darkest hour and had sent a servant to save me.
Epiphany. My eyes were opened. I had spent my short adult life thus far wishing for a death that was not coming. I was wasting my talents by drowning them with drugs. I was wasting away like a coward. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Jaw held high, chest puffed out and eyes firmly set, I vowed to myself, Never again.
Overnight I quit doing drugs, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. I have always been a big fan of cold turkey. I am an extreme man and I believe in extreme measures. Without another thought, I turned my back on those life-destroying habits and crushed them.

I’m not sure what else to say about suicide, except that I have thought about it at different times in my life. And that story is the closest I’ve ever come to following through with it. The truth is, that suicide is not going to help or resolve anything. Life is a struggle at times, and how we deal is what makes us the men and women we are. If you have, or are, considering an “easy” way out … Accept life’s challenge and face it eye-to-eye. Do not let the pain and troubles that each of us face on a daily basis beat you. You are stronger than that! You are so much more capable, and if you look inside yourself you will agree with me. Look in the mirror and smile. Grin even. I’m a sucker for tribulation … If life wants to throw some my way, I say, “Bring it!”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, or is depressed, please call the suicide hotline at: 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK) or visit them online at:
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

I’m not sure of anything else I can say except, there is always more than one answer to a problem. As a matter of fact, I’m willing to bet that most every problem has three or more feasible solutions. Find one that won’t hurt your loved ones.

Posted with love,
Vaughn Ripley

p.s. This post is a chapter in my blog-book, The Secret to Longevity. Checkout my similar posts here: http://hivlongevity.com/the-secret. Or, follow the goodie trail:
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Posted by Vaughn Ripley

Comments (3) Trackbacks (1)
  1. Good article . Will definitely copy it to my blog.Thanks.

  2. Wow Vaughn this is pretty heavy stuff! I knew you during this time of your life 88 & 89 (I think). Time sure does fly! We were both very out of control and reckless. I’ve thought about you all these years, and it’s very inspiring to read your blog, and know you’re doing so well! Keep doing what you’re doing!! I really got a lot out of it 🙂

  3. Thanks, Susie! It has been a long and often tough road. However, I enjoy every mile! Great to hear from you, and even better to hear my blog inspires! Checkout my other inspirational blog if you dig – http://HealthyWealthyTribe.com for daily doses of inspiration and motivation.

    Thanks again,
    Vaughn